Past Pixels have produced a series of five greetings cards featuring images of leading Chartists.
The five Chartists featured are Feargus O’Connor, John Frost, Ernest Jones, William Cuffay and Bronterre O’Brien.
The cards are in memory of Dorothy Thompson [1923- 2011] the leading historian of Chartism who also published a book of Chartist images.
The pictures are all officially sourced and are printed by unionised labour using vegetable based inks. One might argue that with the price of stamps being hiked the demand for such cards is likely to be limited but this is rather missing the point.
Many will wish to collect rather than send the five cards and there remains a considerable market for labour movement memorabilia, cards, plates and badges which dates back to the Chartist period itself. Without wishing to transgress into the area of art history, the images of the Chartist leaders do tell us a fair bit historically about what kind of people these were.
The picture of Ernest Jones shows him to be every bit the lawyer and gentleman leader. The same is true of the card depicting Feargus O’Connor. Cuffay’s portrait is the well known picture of him from the National Portrait Gallery, indicating a well dressed man in a prison cell after his 1848 conviction.
The cards represent a very useful way of taking our history off the printed page and reinforcing it as a series of images. In age which like the Chartist period itself is increasingly visual, that represents valuable work.
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